Too hot to swim in the ocean! On July 24th, the ocean temperature on the Florida coast was recorded at 101.1 degrees F. July has been the hottest month on record all over the world, and the deadliest for those forced to endure the high temperatures. We in Del Mar are lucky to be one of the few areas to have avoided the intense heat domes that have covered much of the globe this summer. Heat-related deaths in the US are expected to greatly exceed the record number of 1700 reported by the CDC in 2022.
Climate change is real, and it is staring us in the face. We have created a world that is increasingly uninhabitable not only for plants and animals but also for us. We lost many Joshua trees last month to devastating fires. The disaster in Maui is a terrible reminder that we who live close to the ocean will not be spared from future events spawned by the warming planet. We must stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible!
We in Del Mar had an early warning that we have been very slow to heed. Our own Dave Keeling charted the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1958. Our dependence on fossil fuels is the major culprit for the greenhouse gas effect measured by the Keeling Curve. Turnover of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere takes centuries, but the more potent pollutant gas, methane, has a much shorter half-life. Therefore, reducing our use of methane, or natural gas, would have a much more rapid effect. That is why electrifying our homes and businesses has become an obvious strategy for dealing with our warming world, and one adopted by many progressive cities including Encinitas and Solana Beach. Let’s hope that Del Mar follows suit in the coming years.
Heat pumps for heating/cooling your house, heat pump water heaters, and induction cooktops are readily available options for reducing your methane pollution. Reducing the use of gas in cooking has the added co-benefit of reducing many health risks. Electric vehicles can eliminate burning of fossil fuels for local transportation. It’s not too late to make a difference, but we need everyone to take responsible action. Take advantage of the rebates and tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act to switch to electric and reduce your use of fossil fuels. We must acknowledge that now is the time to reverse decades of poor stewardship of our world.